Thursday, May 29, 2008

Holy Hole

(Warning: This post does contain a photo involving a surgical incision. It is fairly mild on the scale of surgical photos, but just issuing a warning if you are the squeamish type and don't want to see it. I will post it last in the post and space down a little so that it doesn't catch anyone unexpectedly.)

Note: The opinions expressed below are solely those of the author. Her husband has no comment because he is a way nicer person than she is. Don't take it up with him if you feel guilty or want to defend yourself. Take it up with me. I dare you. This is MY opinion, stated on MY blog. You can agree, disagree, or make all the excuses you want, but it doesn't change the hurt that I feel over the situation.

I've waited to post the results of Vern's surgery for a couple of days, hoping that the family would call to see how he came through, but since they haven't called after this surgery or any of his other surgeries, I will share it with the family and friends who have expressed an interest in knowing. I'm sure something has come up with the rest of the family that they couldn't call to check on him - someone probably had a hangnail or something urgent like that and they just haven't been able to check in with him since this all began.

Oh, did that sound bitchy? Sorry. Good. It's not like we're asking them to come and finish our house or loan us money, but a little bit of moral support would be nice from the people you are supposed to be closest to.

There, now that I have that off my chest, on to the important stuff.

We finally had good news with this surgery. Finally. The one goal, the ONLY goal, of this surgery was to finally get the safety wire into his kidney, around the stone, and down into the ureter so that when they start to break the stone into large pieces they won't go into his ureter and damage it. The doctor just didn't feel like he could safely perform the surgery without it. For those that are keeping track, this was the fifth surgery and third attempt at getting this wire inserted. They just weren't able to do it the conventional way and had to finally resort to a series of larger tubes so that the doctor could work with a scope rather than with an x-ray.

Here's an x-ray that was taken during the surgery.

The larger tube is the nephrostomy tube that drains into an external bag from his left kidney. He's had that pretty much since this all started in March.

The smaller tube/wire is the safety wire that they have had so much trouble getting inserted because of the massive size of his stone. The stone is basically a cast of the inside of his kidney and fills all of the lobes and crevices too.

The circle shows you not only the main stone but also all of the smaller, more hidden stones. The doctor hopes to get about 60% of the large stone out with the next surgery (June 6) and then get the remainder out in one or two more surgeries a few weeks later. They have to proceed slowly with this so that they don't tear the kidney.

In the meantime, he's still off work (since mid-March) and will continue to be for a couple more months at least. He's not able to do anything, especially now since they have finally gotten the safety wire in place. He also isn't physically able to do anything that involves much more than breathing in and breathing out because of the wires, tubes, and bags. He's going to apply for disability coverage from work because his leave is almost over but he is not able to return to work for a while longer.

This has been much more of an ordeal than we ever imagined. It's getting harder and harder to cope physically and emotionally with all of the "side effects" - the pain, the repeated surgeries, and the lack of income. We do appreciate those family members (you know who you are) and friends (you also know who you are) that have given us such moral support during all of this. It will be over at some point, and we will remember the kindnesses and support offered during this time.

And finally, the photo that some of you scrolled right to the bottom to see (you sickos!), I had to change Vern's dressings on his surgery site so I snapped a photo so that he could see what was going on. The larger blue tube drains his kidney into an external bag. The smaller, light blue tube is the safety wire that runs through his kidney and down into the ureter. The black stitches are an attempt to hold it all into place so that we don't have to start all over again. The remaining tape is just securing it all to his leg so that it doesn't dangle - because nobody likes a dangle.


Amanda said...

I'm sorry you're still dealing with all this crap. I hope it ends quickly and successfully for you two soon.

Anonymous said...

Oooouuuuuccccchhhhh!!! Poor Vern.

Yes, call me the sicko that scrolled to the pic first. I love to look at that sort of thing. I really missed my calling in life.

I hope Vern heals quickly.

MicheleAnderson said...

Sympathy for Vern and you too! I hope the doc can work his magic.

Ok...this is the third time I have tried to post the comment and it keeps deleting it. Strange...

Anna said...

I'm sorry you're still dealing with this. At least, though, it sounds like progress is being made finally!
I hope the next few weeks go quickly and smoothly for *both* of you.

Julie said...

Holy Crap! I can't believe this is still going on! You guys are saints! Huge (((((hugs))))) to you both. I hope you know if you need ANYTHING - EVER all you have to do is call me. Anyting - Ever.

More ((((((hugs)))))

Creative Junkie said...

oh wow - I hope he recovers quickly. I'm sorry this is happening.

Kim Emerick said...

Poor Vern! I can't believe this is still going on. I hope he has some results soon. (((Hugs))) to you both.

Anonymous said...

Note: Similar to your caveat, I must state that these opinions are mine and do not necessarily reflect those of "the family."
You were correct to delete the word "bitchy" as your comments were not bitchy but mean spirited, hurtful, disrespectful and clearly aimed at causing pain to the people who dearly love Vern (and you). And congrats, you were successful.
All members of "the family" are very concerned and worried about Vern's wellbeing. Their communication styles may not meet your approval, but jumping to the erroneous assumption that not communicating equals not caring is dead wrong and pathetic.
I wish Vern a swift and pain free recovery and you a heart more open, forgiving and understanding of others.

Carla said...


If they care so much, then perhaps sometime in the last three months someone - anyone - could have picked up the phone and called to see how he is doing instead of waiting to read it here or for us to call and report in.

Three months. Five surgeries.

How many calls?

It's that simple.

Carla said...

So sorry that I hurt the family by stating the FACT that no one has called and that it has hurt us greatly. Guess it only matters when we do it and not when it is done to us.